Some folks are seeing this election as a squeaker for Biden since we saw close races in key states. This has concealed the fact that Biden actually is winning the popular vote by a large margin. Since many votes are still not counted across the country I thought I would do a simple exercise where I projected margins for the votes outstanding in each state.
Much of this is naturally guesswork, but hopefully not too nutty. I applied some simple rules. As we have seen, the vast majority of mail-in ballots are for Biden, even in pro-Trump areas. This means that I assumed in most states that the remaining vote was more pro-Biden than the vote already recorded.
In the pro-Trump states, I assumed there was no margin for the outstanding votes. This would not have made a huge difference since in most of these states 98 percent of the vote was already in, but it seems plausible that Biden would have come close in the votes outstanding in these states. (I used the NYT data from 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, November 7th.) For other states, I assumed more of a pro-Biden tilt. As we saw, in Pennsylvania the mail-in votes went to Biden by a margin of around 50 percentage points. I assumed margins of 40 pp in a number of states (a 70-30 margin) and somewhat smaller margins in other states. In CA I assumed the remaining votes would follow the same pattern as the votes reported to date.
Here’s the story:
I get a bottom line for a final adjusted margin of 8,101,000 votes. If anyone sees an obvious problem with my calculations, I welcome corrections.
(Correction: I had originally had the margin at 9.7 million, but had two errors pointed out to me on Twitter.)
This column originally appeared on Dean Baker’s Beat the Press blog.